The day that an “unknown” Canelo Álvarez challenged Julio César Chávez Jr for the first time

Canelo always looked for a fight with Chávez Jr. (Photo: YouTube Capture / Raul de la Cruz)
Canelo always looked for a fight with Chávez Jr. (Photo: YouTube Capture / Raul de la Cruz)

The paths of Saúl Álvarez and Julio César Chávez Junior they were parallel, at least during the beginning of their respective careers. When boxing returned to broadcast television in 2006, the two titans of the industry, Televisa and TV Azteca, they decided that it was time to project the new faces of Aztec boxing to the public.

It was thus that during his early years the entire public had their sights set on this young talents. Chávez was The Son of Legend, and had Box Azteca on your side. Álvarez had started on the Ajusco television station, but soon went to the opposite sidewalk: Televisa. They were like oil and water. Soon, the public and the press began to talk about a possible fight between the fledgling warriors.

Canelo he was always clear about what he wanted: go for the biggest youth star of Mexican boxing. And so he let it be known from the beginning of his career, when he was still little and nothing known among the general public. After beating Francisco Villanueva, on March 14, 2008, Canelo challenged Chávez Jr. for the first time.

“There we are, always on the line. Whenever you want, we are here for Chávez Jr ”, Canelo shot in statements to Televisa after the fight

Canelo surpassed Junior from 2012. (Photo: Francisco Guasco / EFE)
Canelo surpassed Junior from 2012. (Photo: Francisco Guasco / EFE)

The combat, held in the U of G Olympic Coliseum it served as an impetus for a challenge that at that time was described as risky for Álvarez. At that time, the current four-time world champion was just 17 years old against the 22 of Julito. Even then the press was spicing up a rivalry at birth. For example, in the regional broadcast of that fight, the commentators of Televisa they said that Saúl was “the migraine, the nightmare” of Chávez Jr.

Both climbed the steps that corresponded to them according to their age, but they reached 2011 to place themselves in the mirror again: both were crowned world champions that year. Both They grew like foam and the verbal exchanges did not stop being present at every opportunity they had. The fight via screen and microphones grew in parallel with his abilities in the ring.

However, the following year, 2012, was a before and after in the boxing career. While Álvarez was confirmed as an elite fighter in the super welterweight category With successful defenses for his championship, Chávez Jr. suffered the first loss of his career. The stumble occurred with the Argentine Sergio Wonderful Martinez, which snatched the WBC middleweight title from him.

Julio César Chávez Jr could not be world champion again after 2012. (Photo: Instagram / @ jcchavezjr)
Julio César Chávez Jr could not be world champion again after 2012. (Photo: Instagram / @ jcchavezjr)

Chávez was never again world champion. Although he lost in a resounding way to Martinez, in the last round he was on the verge of knocking him out in an outburst that recalled his father’s best moments. Canelo lived his first fall against Floyd Mayweather Jr. But, unlike Chávez, his career did not decline. In addition, Julio César, a week after fighting Maravilla, tested positive for marijuana.

The roads were beginning to separate. In subsequent years there was no point of comparison. Álvarez climbed to the top of the world and was confirmed as a star. The heir to the Chávez Dynasty could not regain the level he showed in his best days. When the fight between the two arrived, in May 2017, the forecasts were clear: Álvarez had to win.

And so it finally happened. Álvarez defeated Chávez Jr. in twelve rounds and what was already known was confirmed: he was the best Aztec fighter of his generation.

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